Malasadas may be of Portuguese origin, but the pastry became a go-to delicacy in Hawaii soon after they were introduced in 1878 by laborers from Madeira and the Azores. That’s the extent of the history lesson today. After all, you already know what they are given that you’re searching for the best malasadas in Waikiki.
It wasn’t that long ago that you would have had to venture out of the area to find ones worthy of your taste buds. Thankfully, a new trio has joined the most commonly known bakery in the area to compete for the title of “best”. We have laid out our top-four picks and will defer the final decision to you. This is one taste test that you’re going to want to take over and over again. Let’s get you started!
Top 4 Places to Get Delicious Malasadas in or Near Waikiki Beach in Honolulu Oahu
Penny’s Malasadas opened within the food court of Waikiki’s Royal Hawaiian Center in the summer of 2022. Penny’s sells theirs by the box (minimum of three) which gives you the opportunity to sample more than one variety. They are best known for cream-filled malasadas, although they can be a little inconsistent from time to time. The inconsistency occurs when staff injects the cream when the dough is piping hot, which causes it to melt and get runny. That being said, they get it right more often than not. When they are at their best Penny’s can hold its own as one of the best on the island. Their Ube cream-filled malasada is our most recommended order.
Liliha’s haupia malasada
Liliha Bakery takes the cake for many “best of” pastry designations. Their poi-mochi donut is as unrivaled as their chocolate drizzled frosted croissant along with a bounty of cookies, eclairs, and delectable squares. Consequently, it’s only logical for them to up the ante in the malasada category too. Theirs is notable different from heavier malasadas that you may be accustomed to. The dough is lighter and the powdered icing sugar is more delicate, but somehow the texture and flavor is just as rich as with others on this list. The cream in the cream-filled varieties is thick and evenly distributed and doesn’t pour all over your shirt, shorts, and slippers. Liliha Bakery has four locations in Honolulu, with the Waikiki one located on the third floor of International Marketplace.
Duke’s Lane Market & Eatery
This is the surprise pick of the list of the best malasadas in Waikiki. Duke’s Lane Market & Eatery on Kuhio Avenue is a bustling market and food court with an endless inflow and outflow of tourists. Despite this constant motion, the bakers behind the center-floor pastry case (Soleil Hawaii or Islander Gourmet Coffee) have taken the time to prepare an excellent malasada. Its inside is chewy and gooey while the exterior boasts a delightful crisp. Meanwhile, the powdered sugar leaves behind enough residue for some finger licking fun for after you’ve taken the last bite.
While not technically located in Waikiki, Leonard’s Bakery is located close enough to count. Furthermore, they are the most famous malasada spot in the Hawaiian Kingdom if not the world. It’s a 20-minute walk from the beach along Kapahulu Avenue which is an underrated gem with Leonard’s being a crown jewel. Always order the special flavor of the day, and count your blessings if it’s lilikoi (passionfruit) or pineapple cream.
Do you have any other questions about where to get malasadas in Waikiki? Leave them in the comment box below and we’ll get back to you!